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Divorcing? Who Keeps The House?


Divorce among older couples  is on the rise throughout the United States. Couples are delaying divorce until after the kids have graduated school and are out of the house. Speaking of the house, who gets to keep real property after a divorce is final? Do couples always have to sell the family home if neither party can agree? What if the parties own a beach house or rental properties?

Weighing Your Options 

Often one of the most contested issues in divorce is over real property. Couples put their blood, sweat and tears into making a jointly purchased house a home. It can be difficult to even consider listing a home when you made your memories there as a growing family. And in the current real estate market, selling a home might not be a challenge, but finding a new property to purchase is extremely difficult. Sometimes selling the family home is not practical for one of the parties. Maybe they work within a stone’s throw away, or operate a business such as a hair salon or chiropractor’s office from within the home. Maybe one party’s name is on the title, so the couple does not own the property as tenants by entirety.

Whatever the issue may be, it is possible for one spouse to retain ownership of the home, even if both parties are on the title. If both parties agree to one spouse keeping the house, the spouse remaining in the property is required to pay the other spouse an equitable share of the value of the home. Otherwise, the other spouse may receive additional personal property or liquidity from joint investments or assets. Or maybe one spouse wants nothing as long as they are granted a divorce. This is highly unlikely but not unheard of. More often, the parties argue over who lays claim to real property or the family heirloom. If the parties cannot negotiate a settlement regarding property distribution, usually the court will order the property to be sold with proceeds divided between the parties.

Multiple Properties 

If the spouses draw rental income on multiple properties, or if they own a vacation home together, it can complicate equitable distribution of assets. Although most parties do not want to remain in frequent contact after a divorce, it might make fiscal sense to continue operating a rental property so that both parties can draw passive income from it. Perhaps hiring a property manager can alleviate the need for parties to communicate directly about their rental portfolio. In addition, if one spouse agrees to keep the family home, maybe the other spouse receives the vacation home as part of an equitable distribution. In Florida, any property the spouses purchased during the marriage is joint property. The only exception is land or real property gifted to one spouse as part of an inheritance or property that remains a part of a trust. If you have a complicated property division issue, or own additional properties with the other party, it is crucial you contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss your options. 

Let Us Help You Today 

If you or a family member are going through a divorce or perhaps are considering a separation, you can fully appreciate what is at stake. Everything you have worked for, earned and saved may be on the line, including your very home. You need a family law attorney who will aggressively pursue your interests and ensure you receive your fair share of the marital assets. Our Tampa divorce attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. are dedicated to seeking the best resolution for our clients, and have more than thirty years of experience practicing throughout Greater Tampa. Call today to schedule a consultation and discuss your options.

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Bubley & Bubley, P.A. is located in Tampa, FL and serves clients in and around Brandon, Odessa, Tampa, Oldsmar, Land O Lakes, Thonotosassa, Valrico, Wesley Chapel, Lutz, St Petersburg, Plant City & Brooksville, Safety Harbor, Holiday, Trilby, Crystal Beach, Ozona, Apollo Beach, New Port Richey, Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Port Richey, San Antonio, Spring Hill, Lithia, Pasco County and Pinellas County.

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